Democrats watching key races that are likely to decide which party controls the U.S. Senate in January 2021 can barely contain their enthusiasm because of record-breaking second-quarter fundraising totals.
Perhaps the most unexpected is the $13.9 million raised by former South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Jaime Harrison, who is seeking to unseat Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, a popular veteran Republican incumbent.
Harrisons April–May–June largesse was nearly double that of donations to Grahams campaign. Graham, however, still leads in overall contributions in the South Carolina contest with $26 million to Harrisons $20 million.
But nobody expected Harrisons surge, prompting him to write on Twitter, “Folks, I am fired up!” surrounded by fire emojis.
“Together, we are going to give Lindsey the fight of his political life. And we are going to win.”
Similar elation is seen in other Senate races. In Iowa, Democrat Theresa Greenfield raised $6 million in the second quarter in her challenge to Republican Sen. Joni Ernst.
In Maine, $9 million rolled into Democrat Sara Gideons coffers in the quarter, giving her, at least temporarily, slightly more cash on hand than Republican Sen. Susan Collins. And in North Carolina, Republican Sen. Thom Tilliss Democrat opponent, Cal Cunningham, pocketed $7.4 million.
The flood of Democrat campaign cash prompted Josh Holmes, former senior adviser to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), to tell the Washington Examiners David Drucker, “No question, the environment for Democrats is as good as it gets.”
Jimmy Williams, a former senior economic adviser to Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), echoed Holmes, telling The Epoch Times that he has campaign “clients up and down the ballot, at the federal state and local level. Every single one of them is outraising the Republican incumbents theyre running against. The mood against the GOP is bad throughout the country.”
On top of the Democrats fundraising success, their special interest allies such as the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) are buying up advertising space to warn specific Senate GOP incumbents to support a proposed $1 trillion bailout for state and local government, or else.
Jim Manley, former communications director for then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), cautioned Democrats that, “despite the polling that increasingly shows that Republicans are at risk of losing the Senate, I understand that there is still a long time until the elections and that anything can happen.”
Still, Manley told The Epoch Times, “Money is not going to be a problem for Democrats. The fundraising totals so far are pretty amazing.”
Numbers dont tell the whole story, of course.
Gideon, for example, is Maines speaker of the House, which hasnt met in months. Collinss campaign spokesman Kevin Kelley told The Epoch Times on July 9 that Gideon “spent the past 114 days calling out-of-state billionaires, raising money for her Senate campaign, while Maines unemployment system cratered. Thousands of Maine people lost their jobs, and they couldnt get help from the state.”
Although with the election still more than three months away, and amid continuing violence and crime in major cities following the May 25 killing of George Floyd by a now-former Minneapolis policeman, Republicans arent quite ready to quit.
Brian Darling, former senior counsel to Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and now a Washington-based strategist, thinks excessive enthusiasm now could be dangerous for Democrats.
“Even though Democrats are winning the fundraising race, they still need to topple a number of incumbents to take control of the Senate, and beating incumbents is difficult. The smart money is always on an incumbent to hold a seat,” Darling told The Epoch Times.
“It is actually going to hurt Democrats if there becomes a perception that Democrats are going to easily win the Senate and the White House, because voters will lose the sense of urgency to vote that may impact down-ticket, close races in favor of Republican incumbents,” he said.